Mathematics problem solving homework as a conduit for parental involvement in learning. Evaluation of a pilot study.

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Over a six-month period nine English primary schools piloted homework tasks that utilised mathematical problems set in ‘everyday’ contexts to generate specific forms of parental involvement in children’s learning and, as a result, make mathematics homework interesting and enjoyable. Homework is pedagogically and socio-culturally significant because of the effect it has on parents and children. If homework tasks are situated in everyday applications of mathematics and if teachers can convince parents that they can help regardless of their own perceived degree of mathematical competence, parent – child interaction is more likely. If teachers find time in their week to discuss homework in class the children will recognise that their efforts are valued both at home and at school. The child is then more likely to recognise the usefulness of mathematics as a life skill, and the value of sharing ideas and accepting feedback. Doing more interesting homework may foster children’s mathematics talk, increase self-efficacy and completion rates, and ultimately, impact on attainment. Homework packs were sent home every week over a period of twenty weeks and four sets of data were collected: parent feedback sheets, pupil enjoyment questionnaires, teacher interviews and focus groups. Parents were asked to use encouragement, reinforcement and modelling rather than instructional techniques. The high profile given to the homework in class helped to convince parents that their contributions had value. The use of everyday problems provided opportunities to apply knowledge and skills. This evaluation points to a homework model that is manageable and enjoyable.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEducational Review
Early online date25 Mar 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Mar 2019


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